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Photo of Barry Tossman
   Barry Tossman

What advice can you offer to young scientists or engineers?

Find something you enjoy and study, study, study. You cannot contribute in this business without being at the top of your intellectual game. I have been reading and writing space stories since 4th grade.

What are your personal goals for the future?

To complete the CRISM instrument and enjoy the Martian surface data it will provide.

What are your dreams for the future of exploration?

Human exploration of Mars. Terraforming of Mars.

What portion of this mission interests you the most?

Being a player, building a critical instrument and seeing to it that the data needed by NASA is returned to Earth.

What is the most fascinating thing about your mission?

Planetary exploration.

What's the most challenging part of your job?

Building the CRISM instrument with its full performance capabilities on cost and schedule.

What is unique about your job?

The project manager has the final responsibility for getting the job done. It is VERY hard.

What’s the most extraordinary experience you've had so far on this mission?

Dealing with NASA and JPL.

When you were in elementary school, what did you want to be when you grew up?

My mother ingrained in me to become a doctor, but I found considerably more enjoyment in reading about space travel.

When did you decide you wanted to be in the space industry and how did you go for it?

Junior year of high school when I formally switched from a medical focus to aeronautical engineering. In 1956 there was no space engineering, aeronautical engr. was closest.

Why do you think Mars Exploration is important?

Should an asteroid destroy Earth, humans must be established on Mars.

What excites you about Mars or about space exploration?

Mars is the only potentially inhabitable planet for humans. Martian geological and potentially biological history also interests me.

Do you work on any other projects at your company?

I have developed seven other space instruments and manage their mission operations and data analyses.

Describe the human side of robotic exploration.

It is the feeling of our presence on another world.

Is there anything else you'd like to tell us?

We form close-knit teams and the people involved are typically friendly, very smart and desire to work cooperatively. You must start your preparations at a very early age -- so, study, study, study.

Barry Tossman:
  Background Information
  Contributions to Mars Exploration
  Personal Reflections